Let’s be honest. We all know someone we don’t particularly care for. It’s that someone who’s personality can sometimes be “over the top,” or the individual is sweetly pessimistic.
Perhaps it’s the coworker who doesn’t pull their fair share. The neighbor who doesn’t quite buy into the pride of ownership on the street you live on. Maybe it’s someone who lacks intellectual pedigree and tries to feign savvy when everyone in the room knows otherwise. They’re someone you don’t want to call a close friend, so you’ll regard them as an associate.
I’m not referring to someone who dislikes you and considers you a rival. On the contrary. I’m speaking about someone who by all accounts treats you well. They unwittingly are unfazed by your superficial engagement which is fueled by your blatant contempt for them.
Who’s coming to mind right now?
Yep…that’s who I’m talking about.
Now, switch places with the person in your mind. Mentally think of yourself as the one who is being lowly regarded and treated disingenuously.
Just the thought of someone treating me indifferently for no biblically valid reason hurts my heart.
But I’m guilty of having treated certain individuals in such a manner. And sadly, I’ve also experienced the same unfriendly approach. It’s not a good feeling.
So what’s the point?
The point—which is at the end of the Goad—is for you and I to knock it off!
For those of us who subscribe to biblical values, behaving in the manner described is not acceptable.
The clear insight found in Galatians 5:13-15 did a few things…
The words confronted me, chastised me and corrected me.
Here’s what it says,
13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. 14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
15 If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other (New International Version-Emphasis added for effect).
I suggest you read chapter five in its entirety, on your own. But for now, I want to share how I was goaded by the directive.
As the passage reminds us of our liberty or rather freedom as followers of Christ, such a privilege should never be abused, particularly to appease our carnal tendencies.
Thayer’s definition of true liberty is “living as we should not as we please.”
We don’t get to treat people any kind of way. We are to serve one another humbly in love. Or as a Greek-English lexicon puts it, you and I are to…
Serve, normally in a humble manner and in response to the demands or commands of others... (emphasis added for effect).
Why are we to do this? Because the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this ONE command: Love your neighbor as yourself.
And your neighbor includes that person you don’t care for. Ouch!!
So let’s you and I be the change we fuss about not seeing in others. When we hear of those stories of someone being ill-treated, make sure it’s not us who’s doing the mistreating.
Verse 15 admonishes us,
If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.
Are you biting someone? Are you devouring someone?
According to Thayer’s definition, the Greek word for bite is Dakno. It means “to bite with the teeth.” It also means to “wound the soul” or worse yet, to tear apart and treat with scorn or contempt.
As men and women of faith, we should not be known for biting or devouring anyone.
Whoever that person is you were thinking about, they don’t deserve such treatment. So let’s do better by being better.
Let’s love our neighbors, our coworkers, our associates, our friends, and our families.
You got this!
Healing from the goad,
Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. (1996). Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament: based on semantic domains (electronic ed. of the 2nd edition., Vol. 1, p. 460). New York: United Bible Societies.